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‘The scream heard around the world’: Army Specialist comes home to surprise his mom in Tallahassee

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 11:57 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A video of Army Specialist Ethan Houston surprising his mother at a Tallahassee Publix has gone viral, garnering millions of views on several social media platforms.

The weekend also brought more surprises for this family as they enjoyed a truly special Fourth of July.

“I was just in disbelief. I couldn’t believe because I just had no idea,” said Houston’s mother, Tallahassee resident Lana Hill

Hill hadn’t seen her youngest son in over two years, so when he popped out of an aisle on her trip to Publix, she had no words.

“And I think I screamed, of course out of pure joy, but it was like, ‘is Ethan here in the flesh? Am I really actually about to touch, feel, see, hug and kiss?’,” Hill recalled.

The scream heard “around the world” came as no surprise to Houston, who said this isn’t the first time she has reacted this way.

“To be honest, I almost expected it,” Houston admitted. “When I graduated basic training, I was only gone for two months, and she screamed the same way when she saw me then. It’s been two years, so I know it’s coming.”

Houston told WCTV that he’s used to seeing welcome home surprises all the time on social media, so he decided to create his own.

“I used to watch videos of soldiers coming home, you know, and so I said I want to do that for my mom,” explained Houston. “It’s not every day you get to surprise your parent.”

But the excitement didn’t stop there.

Hill decided she wanted to return the favor and give her son a surprise of her own by throwing him a party at Luxe Events with his family and loved ones.

“We got him good,” said Hill. “We surprised him. He came in and said, ‘ya’ll got me.’”

Hill said she wants to make his time back as special as possible.

“I just want him to feel happy at home because in the next couple of weeks, he’ll be gone back doing what it is he does for our country you know,” said Hill.

Houston and Hill said they plan to enjoy everything we all take for granted this holiday season.

“I can come home, I can decompress, I can not think about work for a while and you know just hang out with my family man. Can’t beat it,” shared Houston.

Houston said he plans to enjoy every day of his two-week stay at home and hopes to see as many loved ones as possible.

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